By Stephen Travis Pope
It’s all about the elements.
Our bodies are our dirt, our stuff; my stuff is your stuff; dust to dust.
All of the iron in our blood was created at the center of a star, so we are all made of stardust.
No, we are made of one another!
Some of my stuff used to belong to others; every time I inhale, I take in some of you, and some of someone else whom I don’t even know, and probably stuff from somebody I judge; all the same stuff.
We are certainly made of stars, and of each other.
The next image is of the flint stone and metal striker making a spark.
Almost all of the sparks expire in mid-air, like the Biblical sower’s seeds fallen on rock, or parched earth, or in the thorns.
But oh, the spark that meets the tinder, how it compensates the flint for its chipped and lost matter,
how the tiniest flame recharges the entire atmosphere for all the spent siblings of its spark,
how the shortest duration of the warmth erases the cold silent death of the failed attempts.
The opposite is the single small drop of rain falling into the ocean.
Each drop contributes its whole self; nothing is ever lost.
Each drop changes the temperature of every ocean on earth.
The salt in each drop commingles with all the world’s salt.
The cycle of drops between ocean, cloud, rain, and ocean never ceases.
And nothing is ever lost;
nothing is ever lost.
Our souls are, of course, like both of these: spark-to-fire and drop-to-ocean.
Of course, we experience our spirit through our thoughts and our emotions;
these fragile and garbled hints of the world are the sparks.
The burning tinder never meets the proud parents, the flint and iron of reality.
But the spirit also informs the heartbeat, motivates the breath, and all of the never-ending cycles of our body’s working are in harmony with the driver.
Yes, it is the earth’s water that actually coordinates all of life’s many clocks.
The real source, the driver, the “root of the root,” this “wonder that’s keeping the stars apart,” it’s actually more like that other element: the wind.
Everywhere you look in nature, you see what the wind does,
how it rakes the mile-long dunes by the seashore,
how the Cypress trees there strain in sometimes-defiant response,
how the ocean’s own waves get perturbed white caps,
how the fire’s whole smoke is ushered away by the slightest breath,
how the clouds with their tons of steam are pushed around the heavens with seeming ease.
But you never see the wind itself.
You never see the wind itself.
Included in the collection “Reflections on Love and Truth: Prayers, Poems and Messages”
Available as an eBook for iPad and Kindle platforms